Flight Fraidy Cat

stewardess

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been stuck in the seat next to the person who has a fear of flying.  You know this not-so-jet-setter.  Common signs of this flyer include:

  • Rapt attention during the safety features demonstration.
  • Repeated perusal of the safety guidelines.
  • Expression of an audible, “Oh, oh, oh!” every time the plane banks to make a turn.
  • Bracing themself against the wall and the armrests, as if this will somehow keep them from falling out of the (very intact) plane window.
  • Quick jerking of their hands to the armrests when there is turbulence.
  • Obsessive observation of rowmates to assess their level of calmness (or panic, really).
  • Obsessive observation of flight attendants for the same reason.
  • Excessive sweating.  (No, they did not spill their drink on their lap.  Sweat is natural, ok?)

This flyer is annoying.  Occasionally amusing.  She makes for great storytelling to your friends during happy hour.  You figured out I’m this flyer, right?  Y’all, hear me out.

Everyone points out the extreme safety of planes.  They’re the safest form of transportation!  Thousands of flights happen everyday without incident!  I get it.  I really do. But when something finally does go wrong, that is one really horrible, horrible situation.

But you say, “Kate, look at the statistics!” There’s only  a 1 in 19.8 million chance that you could die!  You would have to go on 70,000 flights before an issue would crop up! Y’all, if I bought Powerball tickets and began imagining my schedule as a retiree sipping on Arnold Palmers as the ripe age of 28, why would the flight odds make me feel better?

You might also say things get better the more you fly.  I’m here to tell you that isn’t true.  As someone who frequently has four flights and sometimes six per week, it just Doesn’t. Get. Better.  It’s that odds thing.  Surely, I’m increasing my odds of being on that plane that has the issue.  Kind of like buying 200 lotto tickets instead of one.

There are also a lot more wackos out in the world today.  How many crazies were flying in the 50s versus how many are flying now?  A lot more, that’s how many.  That little old man with the straw hat and pictures of his grandchildren doesn’t fool me.  He probably has explosive toothpaste in his carry-on.

In the end, the only thing that makes me feel remotely better is the airplane instrument thing.  Our cars have maybe one gauge on them.  Ok, maybe three.  A commercial airplane has probably, oh,  50.  Actually I don’t know this.  Are there any pilots out there reading this blog?  Can you confirm?  Actually, I might not want to know.  Let me go on thinking there are at least 50 gauges.  Nobody answer this question unless you can tell me there are more than 50.

This is all to say, try not to judge me when I drink my Bloody Mary and toss back those anxiety pills at 7:30 A.M..

Are there any other fear of flying comrades out there?

-Kate
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Let’s Leave Genitalia Out Of This.

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People of the human being persuasion!

I have a request that, quite frankly, I can’t believe I even have to make, but I do and so here we are.

Can we please leave our genitalia out of arguments/disagreements/differences of opinion? For example, if you prefer mayonnaise and I prefer mustard, that does not mean that I should call you a “dick” or you should call me a “cunt.” It is not our genitalia that are informing those opinions, it is our tastebuds.

Let’s take it further. If you are anti-marriage equality and I am pro-marriage equality, it does not make sense for you to threaten to shoot my vagina or for me to threaten to chop off your penis. It is our brains that are at an impasse, not our sex organs.

What I’m trying to say is, let’s leave genitalia out of this. I don’t think with my vagina and you don’t think with your penis. Let’s stop reducing each other to our sex organs, ok? We’re so much more.

– Mae

Maybe He Has Malaria & Other Wisdom

little-red-flying-fox-hanging-out-serena-bowlesEveryone has a favorite party question. Who would you invite, living or dead, to a dinner party? David Sedaris, Cary Grant, and a recently bathed Queen Elizabeth I. What is your spirit animal? A Little Red Flying Fox bat, of course. What book would you smite from existence with a giant, fiery death ray? That’s my preferred party question, because there is only one answer. If you’re in possession of a literary fire ray, standard protocol calls for the destruction of He’s Just Not That Into You. Every misinformed, patronizing copy of it shall burn and we will dance joyfully in the ashes.

Fuck that book. Fuck all the articles claiming it might actually have value—I’m looking at you, Buzzfeed’s 65 Books You Need to Read In Your 20’s—instead of throwing it into the bonfire where it belongs. Now, I’m not a fan of censoring and I’m certainly not a fan of book burning. I just want this idiotic advice to die already. There is no romantic manual in existence, including the one that gendered the planets, doing more damage. Friends of mine, successful, lovely women with lots of sense, call it their bible.

2c85e416cee5e4f7ee3aed0df03e0ec1Here’s what I call it: bullshit. He’s Just Not That Into You has made a business out of tormenting innocent twenty-somethings. It gives us rules to date by, blithely handing out snippets of romantic fortune-telling to total strangers. If a guy doesn’t call you on Wednesday for a weekend date? He’s just not that into you. If a guy only texts you, instead of calling? He’s just not that into you. If you went home with a guy from the bar, he’s—wait for it!—just not that into you.

People aren’t that simple. I will go to my grave defending the complexity of mankind, friends. This book dishes out advice based on tired dating stereotypes: women are needy and guys must be tamed. This is dumb.

Wait, no!

This is so, so dumb that I have trouble finding words for it that don’t immediately make cerebral fluid leak out my ear. Lives are complicated. Every person we date has a history—little victories and heartbreaks that make them act they way they do. Maybe a guy is only texting you, because he thinks phones steal your life force, when talked into. Maybe he was slammed all week and, suddenly,  looked up to discover it’s Friday and he wants to see you desperately.

Sure, he may have cancelled your date because he’s an ass. Or, perhaps, he had a bout of intestinal malaria that had him clutching the Charmin for dear life. Rarely do we tell potential love interests of our bowel troubles. Instead we say “things came up” and ask them out at a later date. Thank goodness for that! You don’t want the knowledge of dear Marvin’s intestinal parasites cropping up mid-canoodle, do you? That’s how sexual phobias occur.

You don’t need this book. Romantic tribulations shouldn’t wreck your self-confidence, but there are no rules to love. If there were, no relationships would fail. We would all beatifically stroll through the world, happy and secure, until falling in love with precisely the right person at precisely the right time. That would never do for us! Humans are emotionally messy creatures, not robots. We must try the best we can. When it doesn’t work, throw a few bubbly drinks back, and keep living.

Let me be honest. If I’d followed the advice in this horrid tome, Professor McGregor and I wouldn’t be together. Hell, we never would have had a second date. Instead of being the darling man who surprises me with taxidermied mice, he would be that jerk who took two weeks to ask me out again. Horror of horrors. I’ll take a few weeks of emotional turmoil over that fate. The beginning of our relationship was filled with anxiety, yes, but it turned into something wonderful. That’s what matters.

h-armstrong-roberts-1920s-1930s-romantic-couple-evening-dress-embracing-about-to-kissYou don’t need a book to find love. You need courage, champagne on hand, and one piece of advice: Don’t date jerkfaces! If a romantic interest is mean to you, don’t date him or her. All of the advice in Barnes & Noble can be boiled down to that one, sparkling kernel. It doesn’t do to stress about timelines and made up dating etiquette. We’re all fucking clueless. Just treat people well and be wary, if they don’t reciprocate. If he brings your favorite ice cream, but didn’t call for two weeks? Ask him what’s up and eat the Mint Chocolate Chip. He might be just that into you and malaria.

Or he’s a jerkface.

Who knows? I certainly don’t and neither does any damned book.

– Grace

My Sexy Toes: A Discovery

shoes

Y’all, I’m a shoe-judger.  Yes, when you walk by on the street, I’m looking at your shoes and making all sorts of assumptions about you.  Or maybe not so much assumptions, but I’m creating an imaginary life for you.  It’s a fun game.  Your Puma ballet sneakers indicate you have two kids (Pete and Sally), a goldendoodle (Lionel), and wear drug store brand makeup to your job as a technical analyst for a software engineering firm.  Your Dansko clogs mean you were on the fast track to becoming the prima ballerina of a dance company until an ankle injury cruelly stole your dreams from beneath you. (And yes, just because Dansko sounds like dance you became a ballet dancer… I never said I was scientific about this.)  Your Kate Spade heels with the glitter and the bow? Damn you.  You must be partaking in those romantic picnics in the park with your Hugh Jackman look-alike boyfriend.  He probably feeds you grapes before you jet off to the latest Broadway performance. Damn you.  Can I be your friend?  And the men!  Your frayed sandals tell me you’re trying to relive your glory days at the frat house pool, but you’re probably just heading to the soccer field to watch your daughter run around with the cluster of other 5 yr. olds.

There’s a clear reason for this.  My wee self was restricted in my shoe selection for quite some time and when I was free of those high-topped shackles, I embraced the heeled and flip-flopped and booted freedom of which I’d so long been denied!  It meant something to get to choose the shoes of which I would wear to face the challenges of the day.  Those L.A. Gear Lights with their light-up heels were all fine and dandy, but the day I got to wear my black heels with the silver buckle?  I’ll never forget it.

There’s a point to all this, I swear.  To this day, my shoes are chosen carefully.  They might not always be the most stylish things, but they mean something to me that day.  The power suit for work is only the power suit if it’s paired with my power heels.  Those ruby pumps transform the way I march into work, ready to battle over contract language.

Or at least they did.  Still do, really.

But just this last week, I had to bring in a whole new factor into my work shoe selection:  toe cleavage.  Someone commented on said fabulous ruby heels, and noted they were lovely, but they would be wary of those particular heels because they didn’t like to be overly provocative with their toe cleavage.  Um.  What?  Have I been living under a rock?  How the hell have we sexified this?  Maybe this shouldn’t surprise me.  There is the fact that we call it cleavage.  But it’s of the toes.  WTF?  And y’all, I know there are foot fetishists out there, and to each their own, but when did that start precluding women from wearing a low vamp?  Since when have my toe apices been lumped into the same category as high hemlines and plunging blouses?

Furthermore.  If cleavage of the toes is analagous to breast cleavage, what message are we sending when we wear flip flops.  Is it the equivalent of walking topless down the street?  Are painted toes the counterpart to, you know… grooming?  Does a natural toe mean other things?!  Dear God, what message have I been sending to my online dates when we first meet?

I’d go on, but it’s time I put on those daring and risqué pumps and be out the door.  Do let me know… have you been aware of your sexy toe cleavage?

-Kate

Create a Match.com Summer Singles Event & Win!

match-logoHappy Friday, kittens!

The Spinsters have been asked to participate in a birthday celebration, which you know we love. Bring on the cupcakes and candles! Last year, Match.com—the favored online dating site of our own dear Kate—launched Stir events. With Stir, singles no longer have to wade through online profiles, trying to decipher just how interested in cats that cute surfer guy is, or whether a mutual love of Tolkien is enough warrant a whole dinner. Instead, Match.com plans its own singles events, everything from hiking to bowling, and invites its local users to come and mingle. Happy 1st Birthday, Stir!

Whether you’re just nervous about meeting one-on-one (in which case, we recommend Kate’s ax murderer awareness protocol) or don’t want to waste precious prime time TV hours on individual dinner dates, Stir is the answer. They offer a huge range of activites around the United States, from large-scale happy hours at local hot spots, to more intimate events like cooking classes and tequila tastings. As of their one-year anniversary this month, Match.com’s Stir has already hosted an impressive 2,850 events! That’s 14 events each day, 75 events a week, 320 events per month! Kittens, some of those events are ghost tours. Sign us up!

Match has collaborated with over 1,200 venues and partners—including House of Blues, Banana Republic, Sur la Table and Warrior Dash—along with local gems in each city. Match is throwing singles events in over 80 cities across America – including events in Anchorage and Honolulu! Y’all, over 225,000 singles have attended a Stir event to date. Statistically, that means an intriguingly-bearded (or skirted – Match also hosts GLBT Stir events!) architect is probably tasting hot sauce near you right this very night. Online dating, you are so very, very tempting!

Even better, in celebration of the Stir anniversary, Match.com is offering the opportunity for singles to create their own Stir event. If your event is chosen, you’ll work with the Match.com Stir planners to bring it to life. Whether your ideal is a group trip to Disneyland (Hello, romantic Space Mountain cuddling!) or a feminist book reading, Match can bring it to life. All you have to do, in order to fulfill your wildest mountain climbing with interesting singles fantasy, is visit Match.com’s “What Stirs You?” Contest Page now through Tuesday May 28th, 2013 and tell Match what you think would make for the perfect singles event to be entered to win. Entries will be judged based on quality, creativity, uniqueness and geographical relevance.

The selected winner will have their idea re-created by the Match.com Stir Events team in their city, and will receive an invitation to attend the event along with ten of their singles friends – all at no charge! In addition, the winner will also receive a free six-month Match.com subscription. Sweet! So, my darling cream puffs, what are you waiting for? I know you have great ideas for Stir.

Sometimes, I Worry About Marmalade

vintage_canning_posterMillenial women, I have concerns. It’s not a usual complaint—too many of us living with our parents or forgetting how to use our vocal cords, because of the Facebook—but something more insidious. I am worried about all the marmalade.

Have you preserved something lately? The internet says you have. Sure, maybe you just made some kumquat jam or harvested some green beans from your garden for later use. What’s the big deal, Grace? Everybody’s doing it. It’s not like I’ve set up a canning shed in the backyard yet. It’s not the jelly that truly worries me. If you want homemade apple butter, that’s your (delicious) right. If you want to spend all weekend stewing beets, stew away, my little ableskiver! What worries me is the canning movement.

Everywhere I look, our generation is celebrating domesticity. We’re making jam and knitting sweaters. We’re not only sewing our own clothes, but weaving the fabric from backyard cotton crops and creating chevron prints with handmade vegetable dyes. Flocks of children are being cooed over and homeschooled and raised on homemade organic vegan baby food. And that’s great! The domestic arts are important, under-appreciated crafts. For far too long, “women’s work” was reviled and treated as an expectation, not a honed skill. Knowing how to make things yourself is not only important, but freeing for both genders. De-stigmatizing the feminine is always a good idea, in my book.

Only…I’m less convinced that’s what we’re doing. Could this “new domesticity” not be busting gender roles at all, but reinforcing them? Look at your Facebook feed. Are any of your guy friends posting about the fruitcake they just baked or the new quilt they made for their son’s room? I’m betting not. Young women, however, are baking and sewing and quilting in droves. We’re sharing photos of our creations and blogging about them. Such hobbies are becoming the social norm for women.

canning_foods_vintageEven the look of our generation—the much reviled, but still copied hipster—falls into a gender dichotomy. The Millennial guy, the one who will be parodied at fraternity parties in twenty years, is hyper-masculine. He has facial hair and flannel shirts. He’s really into video games and philosophy and locally sourced bourbon. Meanwhile, our dear Millennial woman has long flowing hair, which she artfully arranges into a braided sock bun, and wears twee, collared dresses she’s made with her own hands. She bakes towering, photogenic cakes and uses homemade cleaning solutions to scrub the kitchen mess away.

That’s not radical, friends. That’s traditional.

If we’d reinvented domesticity, surely it would be split more equitably along gender lines? If our argument is that we’re de-stigmitazing women’s work, then these hobbies shouldn’t be confined to women. Just as many guys should be teaching sewing classes and making scones for their families on the weekend. And—I say this as a person who enjoys both of those things—they’re not. The revival of these arts is a vastly female endeavor. The people who are reading the blogs and pinning the recipes? Women.

We haven’t reinvented homemaking at all, we’ve returned to it. It’s not an inherently bad thing, because the traditionally feminine isn’t inherently bad, but it is a cause for concern. All too many women I know are getting involved with these pursuits out of a sense of expectation. All of their friends suddenly care about canning strawberry jam, so they must as well. The moment that pressure happens, we have a problem. Hobbies are all well and good. Choosing to stay home and raise your children is also all well and good, but we must keep it that, precisely: a choice.

We fought for our right to make pecan pie and kick ass in the working world. Little by little, women have bashed in the social constructs that kept us in the kitchen. The death of these societal expectations is what allows this “new domesticity” to exist, that allows a choice to be made. I’m worried that we’re getting complacent about keeping that choice. The same friends who learn to knit out of a sense of peer pressure, insist that feminism is no longer necessary. That is my marmalade nightmare, friends. Are we going to, slowly and beautifully, place ourselves right back on that pretty, homemade pedestal?

1950skitchenThere is still a war to be fought. The wage gap continues to exist; the gender roles continue to negatively affect both sexes. This is not the time to blithely saunter back toward tradition. Let’s bake our pies and care for our children, but keep up the good fight while we do so. Maybe our guy friends would like to make a perfect meringue or our sons would like to weed the garden? The feminine ideal shouldn’t be charming and pretty and accomplished. The feminine ideal shouldn’t be.

Canning fruit doesn’t make you a good woman. Sewing your husband a shirt doesn’t make you a good wife. You are good, whether you burn water or achieve perfectly fluffy souffles. The new domesticity is lovely, but it should never be an expectation. If you want to wear pearls and vacuum, then vacuum your little heart out. Just remember that you don’t have to.

Make your marmalade. Make intellectual war, while you’re at it.

– Grace

The Apathetic Bridal Guide

l_b25aab40-f095-11e1-aee4-f3a7ac600006There exists in this world a rare and wonderful creature. The Apathetic Bride. Unlike her cousin, The Relentlessly Excited Bride, she does not walk in beauty like the night, but in indifference like the esoteric holiday. She is the Happy Arbor Day! of engaged women. Her wedding planning resembles a Hawaiian Columbus Day parade: short-lived, rife with confusion, and ending with a relieved trip to the beach. Centerpieces bore her and her idea of a catering meeting is a trip to Whataburger. The Apathetic Bride would rather participate in a rousing game of Collect The Camel Spit than attend The Bridal Extravaganza.

I am an apathetic bride, friends.

Don’t tell the bridal industry gods, as they get a bit smite-happy with those pointy cake toppers, but wedding planning is mind-numbing. There are so many things to consider, none of which I care about. Outside of my dress (which I’m making) and the cake (delicious), I could give two shits about any of it. Two giant whale shits. Worse, there is no advice for my kind. We don’t make the industry any money, so we don’t have our own handbook or magazine. We’d have to care about weddings, in order to produce our own pamphlet. The Apathetic Bride would much rather watch paint dry, thanks. And so, it is left to me. For while I don’t enjoy talking about weddings, I do so love making fun of them!

My dear ennui-struck compatriots, I give you my Magnum Opus:

The Apathetic Bridal Guide: Part One, Because A Whole Opus Takes A Really Long Time and I Have Sundresses to Sew.

ON COLORS

Apathetic Bride, do you have a favorite color that you want to splash everything with on your special yeti day? No? Don’t worry about. People will say that, for your wedding to make sense thematically, you must reduce the essence of you and yours to a color pairing. What will your guests do, if they don’t know that your relationship is best portrayed by sea green and puce? They’ll deal with it. Your wedding does not need a theme. Your wedding does not need a color. Pick some stuff you like, plan a party like you normally do, and don’t stress about it. I’m going to have lots of shades of rose & floral prints, because I like them and they’re easy.

When people badger you about “your colors,” feel free to take my response:

Innocent Bystander: Grace, you must be so excited about your WEDDINGMARRIAGEAWESOMEDAYOFAWESOME!
Grace: Totes.
Innocent Bystander: So, what are your colors?
Grace: Torment and anguish!
Innocent Bystander: Oh, like a fancy gothic wedding?
Grace: No, like how I feel when people tell me I should pick out specific colors for this party. Why do I need a perfect color pairing? We’re not painting a baby, we’re throwing a party. A PARTY! WOOHOO!

*run off yelling woohoo*

ON FLOWERS

1930sbrideFlowers are a big deal for weddings. They’re also hella expensive and will die a disgusting, wilting mildew death within a few days. You are not going to be Miss Havisham, surrounded forever by the corpses of your wedding day, so they really don’t need to be that fancy. Have you ever seen hideous flowers? Of course, not. They’re Mother Nature’s version of nipple tassles: bright, shiny, and attractive to horny insects. Whichever ones you pick—roses, daisies, even the much-reviled carnations—will be pleasing to the eye. As such, you don’t actually need to pay a florist half your budget. Order some wholesale flowers from a reputable source, then blithely gather bottles and vases during your engagement period. On the day, throw some flowers in some containers and group them on tables as you want.

Voila! Instant “rustic chic” centerpieces. You’re welcome.

ON DRESSES

You don’t have to wear a white, strapless dress.

That’s all the advice I have. Wear whatever you want, whether that’s a gigantic Vera Wang ball gown, or an orange bias-cut column gown from your favorite vintage shop. There is no law saying it must be white, expensive, and kept for future generations. Hell, if you get married on a nude beach, it need not even exist. These are my words of freedom to you. Wear something you like, then get married.

ON CATERING

Wedding chicken sucks. It’s also expensive, boring, and needless. There are plenty of interesting ways to get around the traditional catering menu. Professor McGregor and I have decided to have an early-afternoon wedding and will be serving—All the pancake lovers rejoice!—brunch. You can have a beloved food truck roll up to your shindig or rent a BBQ smoker. You can serve hamburgers. Or, have a truly “retro wedding” and just eat cake & punch. Hell, you can get married in November and have Luby’s cater the entire thing as a Thanksgiving Dinner. Turkey and cranberry sauce for everyone!

Do not chain yourself to $35/plate catering menus. They aren’t your only option, whatever the wedding magazines tell you. Before you book a venue, make sure they don’t tie you to such shenanigans.

Here’s my final tip for wedding planning, dear ennui-struck ones: Don’t stress about lame things! All of those “traditions” you think are awkward and boring? Don’t do them. Invite some people, eat some food, then get married as fuck. It’s not odd to be uninterested in your wedding; it’s normal.

We will get through this lace-bedecked hellscape together.

– Grace